Vikings edge rushers Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith became fast friends at the Pro Bowl in Orlando in January 2020. They became teammates in March when Smith signed with the Vikings.
“The first time I met him (at the Pro Bowl), he was a cool, young, good overall character and all that stuff,” Hunter said, via Chris Tomasson of The Pioneer-Press. “He came here, (and) I was excited about it. He texted me saying he was coming here, and we started developing a bond.”
Hunter had 14.5 sacks in both 2018 and 2019 before appearing in only seven games the past two seasons because of injuries. Smith played only one regular-season game in 2021 with the Packers, because of a back injury, but he had 13.5 sacks in 2019 and 12.5 in 2020.
The pass rushers have adopted the Purple People Eaters’ motto of “meet at the quarterback.”
If both are healthy, they should rank among the best in the NFL.
“I say one of the best in the NFL,’’ Smith said. “But you know, it’s too early. We’re just going to keep working and getting better at our craft, and you’ll see the results here in the season.”